With Christmas/Hanukkah quickly approaching, several people have asked me for ideas on a good, large, pretend play gift item. And of course my favorite pretend play item is the play kitchen. Yes, even if you have a boy. He could be the next Emeril, Bobby Flay or Dean Fearing for you Dallas folks. There are gender friendly colors widely available out there for them too, not just the pink ones :)
Of all the miniature play kitchens out there, so far my favorites are the Kid Kraft brand because they are pretty affordable and longer lasting. Yes, there are a few nicer wooden ones out there, but they are way over the 200$ budget most families are wanting to spend. And I like this one better than the Step 2 plastic ones because they are more sturdy. I have had several of the plastic models in my play rooms for work, and they break very easily, not to mention that they are constantly falling over. The wooden feel of Kid Kraft makes it feel as much as the real thing as you can get too.
Now, I know you have seen the super cute vintage kitchens at Pottery Barn Kids and even Kid Kraft makes one too, and as much as they look cute to us adults, they don't look very real to our kids. The 1950's refrigerator looks nothing like the ones built in 2011! I'm not sure how much our modern day kids are going to be able to do much pretend play in them. But they do get my vote on the cuteness factor. If you do want to go this route, Target has the Kid Kraft one in pink for $99.99 and it also comes in red and white (keep in mind this one is also much shorter at 35 inches tall than the regular one discussed below at 43 inches):
My favorite gender neutral one by Kid Kraft is the Let's Cook Deluxe Kitchen and is on Amazon for 131$: Kidkraft Deluxe Let's Cook Kitchen pictured below. It comes with a full fridge that opens on the top for the freezer and the main fridge compartment. The oven opens as well as the microwave and they both have see-through windows to "check on your food," too. The sink is also removable for easy clean up. There's also shelving above the sink for quick and easy storage. This one is also much TALLER at 43 inches in height than the vintage one at 35 inches, so your child will still use it at age 4+:
See how real the burners and sink look:
And if you must have the girly version, they make a cute pastel colored one too: